Venture capitalists – getting a marketing advantage
If you want a start-up to achieve its potential get the key players to focus on their markets from day 1
Brilliant ideas and brilliant people don’t always make a great commercial success. All too often, spin-outs and start-ups are driven by innovation, controlled by the inventors, and get obsessed by what they can do rather than focusing on the benefits they can offer to potential markets.
And there’s another problem, proof of concept is not necessarily proof of potential. Spin-outs are often focussed on a market where they’ve had some success, they want to show what they’ve done, it’s a much easier pitch and they have evidence they can rely on. All too often this can mean low hanging fruit is simply ignored.
As seed fund money runs out some of this begins to dawn on our poor inventors but by then they’re set in their ways, don’t want to change their websites, are chasing deals in an increasing sense of desperation and generally aren’t in the positive state of mind they started out in.
Clearly this bleak picture doesn’t apply in every scenario but it’s an all too common state of affairs. But what can be done? Bringing in some marketing talent at a very early stage could change things – particularly if championed by investors.
Partnering with a decent marketing agency on day one will bring a clear commercial focus, focusing minds on key potential customers, putting an emphasis on benefits and reasons to buy, creating bold communications and empowering the team.
This doesn’t need to be a lengthy or expensive process and it should be driven by investors. Remember, that every start-up has a logo and a website and that’s typically all they think is needed. A basic “marketing package” doesn’t cost too much and it’s something the inventors might even be able to do themselves.
If you’re an investor, and you recognise these issues, let’s talk.